Gloriously witty adaptation of the Broadway musical about Professor Henry Higgins, who takes a bet from Colonel Pickering that he can transform unrefined, dirty Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady, and fool everyone into thinking she really is one, too! He does, and thus young aristocrat Freddy Eynsford-Hill falls madly in love with her. But when Higgins takes all the credit and forgets to acknowledge her efforts, Eliza angrily leaves him for Freddy, and suddenly Higgins realizes he's grown accustomed to her face and can't really live without it. Written by
Musical theater writers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had attempted to adapt George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" as a musical long before Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, but had abandoned the project as unadaptable. Rodgers and Hammerstein felt that Shaw's style of writing intellectual dialog and the emotionless character of Henry Higgins did not lend themselves to a musical. Lerner and Lowe overcame these problems by leaving Shaw's dialogue largely intact, and working under the notion that Higgins must be played by a great actor, not a great singer. Thus, they wrote the role especially for Rex Harrison, and adopted the idea that Higgins should not sing outright, but talk on pitch, less an expression of emotions than ideas. See more »
Higgins arm on the back of the chair during 'Let A Woman In Your Life'. See more »
[sounds from crowd, occasionally a word or phrase, indistinct and mostly not associated with a character]
Don't just stand there, Freddy, go and find a cab.
All right, I'll get it, I'll get it.
See more »
In the posters, playbills and the original cast album for the stage version of "My Fair Lady", the credits always read "based on Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' ", letting the audience know what play "My Fair Lady" was actually adapted from. The movie credits simply read "from a play by Bernard Shaw". See more »
I first saw this film when I was eight years old, after receiving it as a first communion present from my mother. For months I watched the movie on an almost daily basis, and it was quickly a favorite. I thought it was absolute perfection.
Now that I am a bit older.. I notice that is does have quite a few flaws. It doesn't really capture the essence of Shaw's Pygmalion, but I don't think that should really take away from the movie; they should be treated as separate entities. Some of the sets are a little, well, cramped, but consider what they had to work with, they did a pretty good job.
And then there is the dubbing issue. I recently special on MFL on AMC, and they showed "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Show Me" with Audrey's voice, and though Audrey may not have the perfect melodic voice of Marni Nixon, her voice was much more "Eliza". I really do think they should have just used her voice. If you watch "Funny Face", you get a good feel for voice, which I think is beautiful in a unconventional way.
Then, there is the question of whether Julie Andrews should have played Eliza in the film version of MFL. I've gone back and forth on this issue. Now, Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress of all time, and Julie Andrews is a close runner-up, so it really is hard to "choose". Of course Julie's voice is much better than even Marni Nixon's... but like I said before, I don't think a perfect singing voice really would suit Eliza. And as for which would play a better Eliza overall.. I really don't know. I wasn't alive to see MFL on Broadway, so I really can't compare the two. What I do know is that Audrey gave an amazing performance. Anyway, as someone else said, if Julie had played Eliza, who would have played Mary Poppins? ;)
60 of 95 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?